Practice Test: Wallace & Gromit’s virtual reality is just like in the movies

Wallace & Gromit in the Grand Getaway captures the essence of Aardman’s films in its Venice Immersive debut. Here’s our full hands-on preview.

Like many Brits my age, I fondly remember watching Wallace and Gromit as a child. Starting with that initial journey in search of the moon cheese, the duo’s subsequent adventures have taken place in many strange places. Between wererabbits, robot dogs, and a certain little-eyed penguin, it’s still a joy decades later. The Grand Getaway convinced me to put in another movie.

Spread across 12 chapters, this latest adventure begins on a seemingly silly foundation. When Wallace realizes he’s mixed up the dates of their upcoming vacation, the famous duo use the iconic orange rocket to get there on time. In a hilariously preventable way, they are quickly blown off course and the pair find themselves stranded on Mars.

The opening chapter begins by controlling the golf-themed Robo Caddy. Using its extendable arms, this resulted in unconventional packing. Grabbing objects with motion controls, you have to place them close to your head so Robo Caddy can “spit” them into a suitcase. Is it practical from a gameplay point of view? Not completely. It is funny? Absolutely. Because none of Wallace’s inventions are ever simple. Robo Caddy feels at home in this world and is joined by Beryl, an AI robot charmingly voiced by Miriam Margoyles.

Beyond where your legs can physically move, there’s no freedom of movement in the game through fluid locomotion, although Robo Caddy can teleport to set locations. It’s not exactly “on-rail”, but The Grand Getaway keeps the scenes contained within a specific path, which I’m told is for narrative reasons. It retains the feel of the movie well and also reduces the risk of nausea, so it is friendly for VR newcomers.

Before long, I was playing as Gromit. Of course he couldn’t teleport or extend his grip, but I found myself getting the rocket ready for liftoff through a small set of puzzles, adjusting things like gears and brakes. This required finding items in the environment, and the Grand Getaway doesn’t guide you excessively. Beryl threw a few little hints at me after I got stuck and quickly discovered what I had overlooked.

Solving the puzzles was fun, but the real highlight is how well integrated the humor is. I won’t go into detail about the exact lines, as they would spoil the fun, but I burst out laughing several times. Comedy doesn’t come easily in a user-controlled environment given how crucial timing is, but The Grand Getaway works and the interactions feel in keeping with the series’ signature humor.

We expect this to be a short two-hour adventure, and overall, its graphics match Aardman’s stop motion style well. Everyone looks great and the strong humor is instantly appealing. I’m enjoying the interactivity that Grand Getaway brings to this world, and so far, Aardman and No Ghost seem to be handling this new medium just fine.

My demo ended after I hit Mars and it left me wanting more. While I couldn’t test it at Venice Immersive, I’m eager to try it out with the manual tracking controls as Aardman confirms it will be included at launch. I see Wallace and Gromit convincing VR newcomers to choose Quest 2 or Quest 3, and if the full game keeps up that momentum, we’re in for a treat.

Wallace and Gromit in the Grand Getaway arrives on the Meta Quest platform this year. If you want to know more, check out our full interview with Aardman, No Ghost and Atlas V below:

How Wallace & Gromit VR pays homage to a great day out

Wallace and Gromit in the Grand Getaway pays homage to A Grand Day Out and you can play it all with hand tracking. Our full interview:

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